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Ashvattha Tree and Agni

There is an important story connecting Ashvattha Tree (Indian fig tree) and Agni.
Legend has it that Agni (the fire god in Hinduism) got tired of doing his duty of conveying the offerings made in sacrifices to gods and manes; he desired to relinquish his job, but was requested to continue till a substitute was found.

Agni paid no heed to the request but took the form of a horse and began to run; but as he was being chased by the Devas (demigods), he disappeared into a fig tree.

Hence the tree bears the name ‘Ashvattha’ (concealing a horse). The legend provides the reason for fire being present inside the wood of Ashvattha tree.

The tree is traditionally held as sacred since the twigs are used for oblation into the Vedic fire altar.

The tree also represents Brahma at the root, Vishnu in the middle and Shiva at the top.



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